My historical novel set during the North-West Resistance will be published September 2017 (Ronsdale Press)
My short story, Random Acts of Nature, was published in The Dalhousie Review (Issue 94.3, Summer 2014)
Ryan McMahon, Executive Producer of the podcast series, Stories From the Land wrote: “In this episode we hear a gripping story from Metis Storyteller/Artist, Maia Caron. A story about the connecting, disconnection, and reconnection that we as Indigenous Peoples most often have to fight for after our Ancestors are displaced and resettled in other territories.”
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I was born to a family of Metis—half-breeds—who, after being beaten by the Canadian army in the North-West Resistance of 1885, said to their children: “If you want to live, don’t ever tell anyone you’re half Indian.”
The secret was kept so well, I didn’t discover I was “half Indian” until the age of twenty. Although my great great grandfathers’ homes were looted and burned by Canadian soldiers, and they served time in prison for their part in the resistance, no proud stories were told of what they had risked to be free.
When a culture has been violated, robbed of its land, language, songs, stories, and beliefs, the heart of the nation is broken. These “broken” individuals birth the next generation of “broken” individuals and so begins a legacy of addiction and sexual, emotional, and physical abuse.
Both church and state delivered colonization to indigenous peoples. Growing up Catholic and with ancestral shame, guilt coloured even our most transcendent moments. Historically, Catholic indigenous women didn’t have many choices that weren’t considered sinful or a challenge to the patriarchal status quo. Most sacrificed their dreams and hopes to their families, religion, and community.
Steeped in this early influence, I spent much of my young adult life naive, exposed, and unguarded. I put myself in dangerous situations. I lived a “secret” life inside my head—a life painted black.
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From Use of the Word Love, a short story published in The Nashwaak Review, (Volume 32-33)I give you the skin because I love you. Or because I can’t stand the skin. I’m not a heartless bitch, as you’ve accused. Lately, you’ve brought up what my ex-husband used to tell me—which I mentioned once and you stored away—that I would have had issues married to Jesus Christ. This is not funny. People shouldn’t make jokes about Him I say. You say he’s a public figure and up for grabs.
You don’t know my private thoughts. Each human has its own, what a relief. Imagine if we heard every one’s sad worries. I advance the theory that perhaps I absorb them, I carry the burdens of the world. You say that’s wishful thinking. I admit I hold my breath when passing people on the sidewalk so I don’t catch what they’ve got. You raise your hands and go off saying, what a bugger.
I wash the dishes and plot my leave taking, but it’s complicated. Who will feed you? I think of your contention that I let go of the past. I should not mope on the thirty-fifth anniversary of my brother’s death. He died young, in the seventies. I should be over it now.
Mother has got past it. She said today, as she always does on our annual death-day-memorial-phone conversation, “He moved too fast—he sang every song,” and then she said, “I’m not sure if he was on something.” What a dear, losing her mind.
My brother, the one we remember, the one who moved too fast, is dead. How far can one go with this? Not very. You can sing about freedom or LA, if it doesn’t make sense it doesn’t. You can be earnest and cunning, but if you aren’t on in the asterisk sense you might as well forget it. You can be drunk as fuck, but ultimately, it doesn’t help you. Which is why people join Alcoholics Anonymous and download songs by Justin Bieber. This is your clue.
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If Heidegger was correct and it is the case that the notion of Platonic forms set ontological investigations back by focusing on existence as a being (a thing with properties and substance), the focus should be directed toward what is prior to being—which he famously referred to as “the nothing.” This then becomes the issue with philosophical investigations that cannot get beyond Platonism—a frustration shared by Wittgenstein when he said, “How extraordinary that Plato could have got even as far as he did! Or that we could not get any further!”
In the same way that Wittgenstein pressed the boundaries of empiricism and came to das mystiche, works by philosophers such as Heidegger tell us that our “bedtime metaphysical” pondering, this observing of a self and questioning one’s own existence: “Here I Am,” should not end in a pat empirical answer, nor some vague transcendental or mystical sensation. Rather, “Here I Am” is simply how it is.
If the universe is both personal and universal, as both Seltzer and Nagel suggest, and it’s not possible for an individual to wrap his/her logical thinking process around the notion, one should neither assign mystical significance to this nothing, nor should it seek to empirically dissect it as a “thing in itself.”
Goldstein evocatively concludes her own book thus: “Maybe some things just are (“stuff happens”), including the fundamental laws of nature. Philosophers sometimes call this just-is-ness “contingency.” Perhaps in the end, we are all humbled by “the brutality of incomprehensibility that assaults us from all sides.” Perhaps indeed.